Frequently Asked Questions

General

Although the length of time it takes to post a record to Fracfocus varies by state the overall average time taken to post records to FracFocus is 79 days following the Job End Date on the record.

FracFocus says my well location is not within the county boundaries but I know it is not.  What could be the problem?

FracFocus uses a bounding box surrounding the identified county of the well to test the location spot provided for the well.  The wells location is required to be entered in Decimal Degrees.  The validation test is to make sure that the well is located within the county identified from the API Well Number supplied for the well that is being reported on.  Many times an operator will have the well’s location reported to them in a format know as Degrees-Minutes-Seconds (D-M-S) and that location may appear as:

NAD83:
Lat: 32o06’03.458”
Long: 101o39’04.112”

The above format is not correct for entering into FracFocus.  We have seen a number of operators try to enter this information in as 32.0603458 and -101.3904112.  Again this would be wrong.  The proper way is to convert the above information from Degress,Minutes and Seconds to Decimal Degrees.  There are a number of conversion tools available for free on the internet.  One is located at:

http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/audio/bickel/DDDMMSS-decimal.html

By entering the above numbers into the conversion tool we get the following Lat/Long in Decimal Degrees that can be entered into FracFocus.

NAD83:
Lat: 32.100961
Long: 101.651142

Usage statistics have demonstrated that the majority of people prefer to use the standard search (most likely because it is faster and provides a list of wells with disclosures).  Consequently, we have made the standard search the default search form.  The map search is still available by clicking on the Map Search button in the upper right hand portion of the screen.

After the upgrade of a browser unexpected issues may occur when working with a data site.  Running in compatibility mode with the new browser may be necessary for a period of time.  If you have recently upgraded your browser software please review the default configuration of the browser to see if you can identify the issues that may be causing your problem.

If you go to www.fracfocusdata.org and login to the system you will see the 2.0 Training Slides and 2.0 User's Guide listed under the User's Menu on the right side of the screen.

The FracFocus system does not have a utility to convert FracFocus 1.0 Excel templates to FracFocus 2.0 XML files.  However, if you have someone who can develop a program to do so it should not affect your FracFocus 2.0 submission provided the resulting XML file meets the schema as shown at the following link:

http://www.fracfocusdata.org/FracFocusXMLDocumentExample.xml



There are a number of common problems which occur with regularity when using FracFocus.  The following is a list of the most often encountered problems and the most like solutions to these problems.

1.  I submitted a registration to FracFocus but have not received an approval

Responses:  The most likely cause is that the FracFocus administrator has been unable to certify that you work for the company for which the registration was submitted.  If you do not receive a response from the administrator within 1 week of submitting your registration you should contact the administrator at mnickolaus@gwpc.org to verify the cause for the delay.

2. I registered to use FracFocus and received my account approval but when I attempt to login I receive an error message.

Responses:  The most common causes of login failure are: 1. Failure to include the special character you used in your password, 2. Use of an incorrect e-mail address.

3. I am the company/ agency representative but I cannot submit a disclosure

Response:  In order to submit a disclosure you must use the Add/ Manage Accounts to make yourself a Supervisor and Data Submitter if you are an Operator, or a User if you are a Service Company or State Agency.  If you select Add/ Manage Accounts you will see a button in the top center of the screen that says Make Me a Supervisor, Make Me a Data Submitter, or Make Me a User.  If you click that button you will be assigned to this/ those roles and your Dashboard will change to reflect all of the functions available to that class of user.

4. When I attempt to register the system tells me I cannot use the e-mail address I have entered.

Response:  The most likely cause of this error is that the e-mail has either been submitted for registration before or is already in use by another user.  E-mail addresses must be unique. Try to register using another e-mail address.

5.  The system doesn't have any way for me to change the company representative.

Response:   Since the company representative is the highest ranking person in the company as far as the FracFocus system is concerned, this person can only be changed by the FracFocus system manager.  If you need to change a company representative, contact Mark Layne of ALL Consulting at mlayne@all-llc.com.

6. When I attempt to view a pdf my browser will not open the file.

Response:  This problem is most likely related to your browsers security settings.  See the FAQ titled "How do the search forms work"

7. When I enter a disclosure using the form in FracFocus I get Warnings and Errors when a validate the disclosure.  Will this prevent me from submitting the record.

Response:  Warnings will not prevent submission of a record.  However, Errors will.  Warnings are designed to let you know that one or more of your entries does not match the standard format of a FracFocus field (e.g. Improper CAS number format).  These Warnings should be checked but they will not prevent submission of a record.  Errors must be corrected before a disclosure can be submitted.

8. Why do I get an upload failure message when I submit my xml file?

Responses:  The most common causes of xml upload failure are
a.    The first 3 lines and last 2 lines of the xml file do not appear as follows at a minimum:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
-<FracFocus2_0 xmlns="FracFocus2_0.xsd" >
-<FractureJob>

</FractureJob>
</FracFocus2_0>

b.    There is a null value in a required field (E.g. Datum); or
c.    This is a blank tag in a numeric element such as TVD – True Vertical Depth

There are two search forms available in FracFocus:  Map Search and Standard Search.  The data available to be searched upon (e.g., API Number, Operator, State, etc.) is the same on the two forms.  To avoid conflicts in system resources the search screens will only return the top 2,000 disclosures when a search is performed.  The filtering of data and combination of search criteria will be critical to the user to assure that they have retrieved all the available disclosures desired based on this resource limit.

Each search form uses a winnowing down process that begins with the largest block of records (State) and works its way down to the smallest block of records (API Number).  For example if you enter just the State the search will return the top 2,000 disclosure records for that State.  If you also selected the county the search will return only those records for the particular State AND County you selected and so forth (up to 2,000 disclosures).  If you entered only the API Number the search will return only those disclosure records submitted for that well.  When using an API Number search please note that this could result in more than one disclosure if the well has been fractured more than once.

The two search forms have been modified (Available in March 2013) to add three new search criteria to the system:

1. Date search:  This search will allow you to look for disclosures based on the Start and/ or End date of the fracture job and will include a search of before or after either of these dates, a between dates search for either of the dates or an exact date for either date field. 

2. Chemical name search:  This search will show you a side by side box with the chemicals for which there are records in the system shown in the left box.  To search by a chemical or chemicals all you need to do is use the > symbol to move one or more chemical names from the left box to the right box.  Performing a search on common chemicals, such as water and hydrochloric acid, which are typically used in all fracture jobs, is not allowed as the result would be to return all of the disclosure records. A limit of 20 selected chemicals can be filtered on at a time.

3. Chemical Abstract Service number search:  This search will allow you to enter a specific chemical abstract service number (CAS number) and will return up to the top 2,000 disclosures that contain that number.  The advantage to using this search over the chemical name search is that CAS numbers are unique and may represent multiple chemical names.  This search also contains a link to the University of Akron’s chemical database to assist the user in identifying CAS numbers based on chemical names.  Please note that the same search restrictions on common chemicals (e.g., water, hydrochloric acid, etc.) that exist for Chemical name searches also applies to CAS number searches.

As with all other search criteria only those records meeting all of the conditions you select will be returned in a search. If you are using the Map search the result of the search will be a map showing the location of the disclosures.  You may have to zoom in on the map to see and select individual wells to access the disclosures.  On the Standard search a result list of the disclosures meeting the search criteria will be returned.  You can select a disclosure for viewing by clicking on the pdf icon on the left side of the list.

In some cases your computer or browser may have security controls which can prevent you from seeing the pdf.  These can usually be overcome by right clicking the orange bar at the top of the page and allowing the file to download if you are using Internet Explorer or by clicking on the  download box which appears at the bottom left of the screen and selecting Keep if you are using Google Chrome.  Other browsers may use different security protocols so please check your particular browsers security restrictions to find out the proper procedure for viewing files.

Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturng are often transformed or degraded by their interaction with formations and formation fluids.  For many chemicals of concern a recent presentation made by Dr. Angus McGrath of the environmental consulting company Stantec entitled "Fate and Transport of Select Compounds of Interest in Fracing Fluids" describes the fate of chemicals.  It is available on the USEPA website at

http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/fateandtransportofselectcompoundsofinterestinfracingfluids.pdf

The list of companies that participate in FracFocus is continually growing.  To see a list of the current participating companies clik on Links.

The following is a list of elements contained in the hydraulic fracturing records viewable on this site and an explanation of what each element means.

The header of each fracturing record contains the following information:

1. Fracture date:  This is the date on which the fracturing associated with the record occurred

2. State: The  name of the state in which the surface location of the well is located

3. County:  The name of the county within the state

4. API Number:  This number is assigned under a system developed by the American Petroleum Institute.  API
numbers are formatted as nn-nnn-nnnnn-nn-nn with the first 2 numbers designating the state, the second 3 numbers
designating the county within the state and the next 5 numbers designating the particular well within the county.
When present, the next 2 numbers are a  directional sidetrack code to designate the number of horizontal or
directional offshoots from a single vertical borehole and the final 2  numbers are an event sequence code used to
designate multiple activities conducted at a single well such as recompletion, treatment etc… (A list of the state
and county codes can be found at http://www.spwla.org/technical/api-codes)

5. Operator Name:  This is the name of the company

6. Well Name:  This is typically the name of the property owner on whose land the well is located.  In the
case of multiple property owners pooled under a single unit, the name of the majority property owner is often
used.  The number on the well may designate the chronological sequence of wells drilled.
(Example: The Smith #2 might designate the second well drilled on the Smith lease).  However, this is not a universal naming convention.

7. Longitude:  This the east-west coordinate location of the well on the earth in degrees, minutes and seconds

8. Latitude: This is the north-south coordinate location of the well on the earth in degrees, minutes and
seconds

9. Latitude/ Longitude Projection:  This is the particular projection method for the Latitude/ Longitude (e.g.
North American Datum (NAD) 27 or 83)

10. True Vertical Depth:  This is the absolute depth of the well measured from the surface to the deepest point
of penetration

11. Total Water Volume:  This is the total amount of water in gallons used as the carrier fluid for the
hydraulic fracturing job.  It may include recycled water and newly acquired water.

12. Production Type:  This designates the well type (e.g. Oil, Gas)

In addition to the general information shown above, each record contains information about the specific chemicals used during the fracturing process.  The following is a list of the chemical information shown on the fracturing record:

1. Trade Name:  This is the name of the product designated by the supplier

2. Supplier:  This is the name of the service company that supplied the product (e.g. Schlumberger,
Halliburton)

3. Purpose:  This is the function served by the additive (Trade Name) in the fracturing process (e.g.
surfactant, biocide etc…)

4. Ingredients:  This is the scientific name of the chemical (e.g. Ethanol, Naphthalene etc…)

5. Chemical Abstract Service or CAS Number:  This is a number assigned by a division of the American Chemical
Society for the purpose of identifying a specific substance.  You can learn more about the toxicity characteristics of chemicals by searching for the chemical using the name or CAS number on the USEPA National Center for Computational Toxicology  website.  USEPA also maintains a Drinking Water Hotline that is available Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM-4:30 PM Eastern time at 1-800-426-4791.


6. Ingredient Percentage in Additive by % Mass:  This describes the amount of ingredient within the additive
(Trade Name) as a percent of the total mass of the additive. Note:  Because the % Mass of the additive will be expressed as its maximum concentration, the total % Mass of ingredient percentage may exceed 100%.

7. Ingredient Concentration in HF (Hydraulic fracturing) fluid % by mass:  This describes the amount of ingredient as a percent of the total mass of the HF fluid including carrier fluid and additives. Note: The total may not equal 100% due to the absence of non MSDS ingredients which may or may not be listed depending upon state reporting requirements.

To become a “FracFocus” participating company please follow the instructions below:

 •     Open the website www.hydraulicfracturingdisclosure.org 

     Click on Register in the menu on the right hand side of the home page

     Complete the form and submit

     Wait for a confirmation e-mail

     Establish yourself as a Supervisor and a Data Submitter

     Assign other Supervisors and Data Submitters (as necessary)

     Download the Excel template

     Begin entering and submitting records

Please note that only 1 representative per company is allowed but any number of supervisors and data submitters can be approved.  At present, representatives must work for the company that is to be registered.  For security reasons, the system cannot accommodate third party agents.

You can obtain further information about registration and system usage from the Quick How To Guide

The purpose of the FracFocus records presentation system was to provide those who may live near a well that has been fractured with information concerning the materials used to fracture the well.  All information other than the information used in the search form is available only in an Adobe pdf format.  As such, information such as Ingredients, Trade Names and CAS numbers is not available for search or data aggregation purposes.

No. FracFocus was originally designed to serve records one at a time in Adobe pdf format in order to ensure accurate, unaltered and uncompromised data. Consequently the chemical information gathered does not currently reside in a database or spreadsheet format.

The most likely reasons are that either the wells were fractured before January 1, 2011 or they have not yet been entered into the system.  Only wells fractured after January 1st will be entered into the system and since the uploading of records began only recently it will take some time before a large number of wells is available.  Please keep checking back as wells are added on a daily basis.

The name of the operator on the well list is based on the name used to register the company in the FracFocus system.  However, companies sometimes operate through subsidiaries.  For example Anadarko Petroleum Corporation purchased Kerr Mcgee and still operates wells under the Kerr Mcgee name.  Regardless of the name of the operator on the fracturing record the operator name on the list reflects the name of the FracFocus participating company.

It comes from many sources including surface water bodies such as ponds, lakes, and streams, municipal authorities, groundwater wells, "produced water" (water that comes to the surface during oil and gas production), and re-cycled water from other hydraulic fracturing jobs.  Read more...

One of the best glossaries of oil and gas terms is available on the web through Schlumberger Inc.  You can use the alphabetical listing to select the first letter of the term you are looking for and scroll through the list of terms to find it.  This site contains over 4600 oil and gas related terms.

You may have an older version of the Adobe Flash Player installed. You can go to the Adobe site to download the latest version of the player.

Fracturing fluids can enter a fresh groundwater zone if there is sufficient bottom hole pressure to raise the fluid level from the fractured zone to the fresh groundwater zone, and there is a conduit through which the fluid can flow such as an open annulus between the casing and the formation.  Fluids may also enter fresh groundwater if there is a hole in the casing above the depth of the groundwater zone and the cement outside of the casing is not adequate to prevent fluid flow between the casing and the formation. However, under normal circumstances hydraulic fracturing fluid is confined to the inside of the production casing, the formation being treated and nearby formations. Read more...

All chemicals that would appear on a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that are used to hydraulically fracture a well except for those that can be kept proprietary based on the “Trade Secret” provisions related to MSDS found on the Trade Secret link at 1910.1200(i)(1).  Read more...

This varies from well to well and depends upon the well configuration (vertical or horizontal), the number of stages fractured, and the specific characteristics of the formation being fractured.  In vertical wells with a single fractured stage it is not uncommon to use less than 50,000 gallons of water during a fracture job, while a multi interval fracture job in a horizontal well can use several million gallons of water.  Read more...

This depends upon many factors including:

1. The level of chemicals in the groundwater; whether naturally occurring or introduced. (NOTE: The Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for drinking water was established by the EPA and can be found on their website at: http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm .  It is important to note, however, that not all chemicals, compounds or elements have an MCL.  For example natural gas does not have an MCL; and
2. Your individual tolerance to some chemicals.  While some chemicals such as Benzene can be toxic to everyone in quantities as low as a few parts per billion, the toxicity of other additives depends upon the individual.  For example, some people are sensitive to Sodium due to conditions like high blood pressure.  Consequently, a tolerable level of sodium for them might be lower than for a person without a similar condition.  However, only you and your doctor can determine a safe level of exposure for you.  To see a more comprehensive evaluation of chemical toxicity you should visit the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Integrated Risk Assessment System (IRIS); and
3. The use to which the groundwater is put (e.g. will it be used for human consumption, livestock consumption, irrigation, washing or bathing etc…). 

The best way to determine if your groundwater is fit for its intended use is to have it analyzed by an accredited laboratory for all constituents of concern and to have that analysis evaluated by a qualified professional such as a toxicologist.  You can often obtain a list of accredited laboratories from your County Extension Agent, State Water Quality Agency or local Health Department.

 

Chemicals are used for many purposes in hydraulic fracturing. Some chemicals are designed to inhibit bacterial growth. These are called biocides. Others make fluids flow down the casing more easily. These are called friction reducers. Without these and other chemicals, the effectiveness of the fracturing job would be limited. Read more...

It depends upon the zone being fractured. For example, the following chart shows the area and depths of the 5 predominant shale gas zones in the U.S.

 

It depends on the state. When it comes to water wells, many states have water well construction standards but not routine testing requirements. As regards the construction of oil and gas wells, all states have well construction requirements.  These can be reviewed by going to the Regulations by State page, selecting the state in question and then selecting View Regulations.

Water acts as the carrier fluid for the chemical additives and propping agents (typically sand) that are used to fracture the producing formation.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracing, is the process of creating small cracks, or fractures, in underground geological formations to allow natural gas to flow into the wellbore and on to the surface where the gas is collected and prepared for sale to a wide variety of consumers.

During the fracing process, a mixture of water, sand and other chemical additives designed to protect the integrity of the geological formation and enhance production is pumped under high pressure into the shale formation to create small fractures.

The newly created fractures are “propped” open by the sand, which allows the natural gas to flow into the wellbore where it is collected at the surface and subsequently delivered to a wide range group of consumers.   Read more...

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Questions about a particular well should be directed to the company which operates the well.

Ground Water Protection Council Interstate Oil and Gas